7 Ways GDPR Will Affect Your Marketing Efforts — According to Top Marketers


“It really forces us as data marketers to think much more clearly about the value of the product and marketing communication that we are delivering from a creative standpoint, that cutting through the clutter based on the content and the quality of that messaging, not just based on the audience that we’re targeting.” – Michael Horn, Director of Data Science, Huge

“Brands are going to have to be very creative in the sense that, they need to do all this relationship marketing, emotionally intelligent marketing—but in a different form. They need to get their data straight, they need to get their talent straight, the marketing department, they need to have strong people that understand both the art side and the science side of marketing.” – Pini Yakuel, CEO & Founder, Optimove

“Truly great creatives actually thrive when limitations are placed on them, and I think the truly great phrase in the industry will actually become better as they deal with the impact of the limitations placed by GDPR.” – David Deal, independent marketing consultant


“From my perspective, I think the brands themselves have a big problem with trust in terms of the data that they keep, because mostly, it’s what you bought from them and your browsing sessions. Most consumers don’t understand that if they go to a luxury car’s website, and then they are shopping for an expensive house on another website, DMPs are making conclusions about their level of affluence. And when consumers find out exactly the level of depth of data DMP’s keep on customers, this will be more alarming.I think brands themselves, where they have a very local touch point with the end consumer, it’s not as big of a deal.” – Pini Yakuel, Optimove

“I think that there are so many best practices that you can implement to make sure that your data remains an asset and not a liability. I’d like to talk about something we call privacy by design. Anonymize your customer data. Use what we call pseudonyms rather than storing raw data. Especially when it comes to product development, think hard about what you want to track and how you want to store it.. Don’t be lazy, be intentional. Design your systems for privacy. That way, you can be open about your practices. You can say, ‘None of your private data is accessible. We anonymize X,Y,Z before we send it to vendors or expose it in our systems.” – Sandhya Hegde, Director of Product, Amplitude

“The problem with privacy as a social issue—as a motivator for movement—is that it’s a very abstract concept. It’s not like a war or something [obvious] like that. It’s something that people really don’t understand. People sometimes feel uncomfortable or are offended by a [branded] experience, but I don’t think people have a very strong, consistent opinion about what privacy means to them as an abstract philosophical concept. And that’s why I think it’s fairly easy for this to flare up and die down again.” – David Deal, independent marketing consultant

“It’s like when you ask a consumer if they like TV advertising, they say they don’t like TV advertising. But then if you ask them what their favorite TV ad is, it’s difficult to get a word in edgewise as they talk about it for the next 20 minutes about a TV ad from their childhood. I can see parallels with privacy. In the abstract, general form, people will not want to see their data used. But in the specific in where they can see the value, they will be more comfortable with [marketers] having access to that information.” – Peter Bell, Senior Director of Marketing, Marketo


“Certainly in the eyes of the consumer, if you’ve given over information, and it’s used well, and that third party has been protective of the data and used it in expected ways, then you tend to reward them with repeat business.We can all cite the typical examples of Amazon, Apple or Netflix, why do they enjoy repeat business from many of us on this call, and enjoy live market share? It’s because they use first party data to create value for me as a consumer. Sadly, they’re the exception rather than the norm right now.” – Peter Bell, Marketo

“In the industry, we have a choice here, and there are opposing requests within the legislation. One is the need to be transparent, and the other is the need to be clear. The two don’t often go together. I think for our graphic designers there’s a real opportunity to show their talent. To take those two opposing forces and make them come together in a way that creates clarity and transparency for consumers.” – Peter Bell, Marketo


“Make sure your whole organization processes are actually aligned around prioritizing use of privacy, and the person that’s making sure all your software and tools are compliant, and kind of a foundation of your business profit. We do see a lot of companies who want to do the minimum needed, that wait and watch to see what happens after May 25th, but the largest customers we work with have been preparing for this for the last six months, if not more.” – Sandhya Hegde, Amplitude
“The penalties associated with breaches of the GDPR law are considerably higher than any PR problem, many of which come and go without actually having much material impact on the business, to be honest. Not all of them, but many of them do.” – Andrew Frank, Gartner

“The start of it is working internally. Making sure, again, this is from a marketing perspective, or just from a data, integrity inspection throughout the brand. Making sure everybody is aware of what it means, and what the impact will be working with our vendors, working with our agencies, working with data protection consultants.It’s really an all hands kind of approach to making sure that everybody is aware of the impact. So, just really reformulating our strategy, looking ahead to how we as a brand are going to really rise to meet the new expectation and hopefully be rewarded for that.” – Kevin Scholl, Red Roof Inn


“How do they continue to operate against current models? How does retargeting fit well within a more rigorous cookie legislation? I think that’s where we’ll see the most disruption, not directly on the 28th, but once the regulation comes into force.” – Peter Bell, Marketo

“Location-based marketing is definitely going to create a gap between what’s possible to do in Europe versus the US in terms of mobile marketing. In terms of who’s going to be impacted, Google versus the ad networks, I think it’s the gray market players and people that sell shady email lists and shady cookie databases. They’re not a very big part of this industry, money-wise, but they still exist. I think we’re going to see those types of vendors vanish, which is overall a good thing.” – Pini Yakuel, Optimove

“Marketo last year surveyed over 2,000 marketers globally with a sampling in Europe, and the number one reason that came back, why consumers would not engage with brands, was because of irrelevant content. That speaks to the fact that we tend to focus technology as being a cheap method of putting out a very high volume, low cost communication instead of focusing on the value of communication, the right message to engage with the consumer with the brand.” – Peter Bell, Marketo

“I’m very happy about GDPR. I think it pushes us further as marketers, and as people who are from the brand side or from the vendor side. We all need to improve in terms of catering to the customers’ wants and needs.” – Pini Yakuel, Optimove


“I don’t see any regulation on the scale of GDPR coming to the United States any time soon. The technology firms such as Google have far too much lobbying power with the current administration’s for any kind of GDPR regulation to happen in the United States in the near term. In addition, it’s interesting, so much attention is being placed on Facebook and its own issues with data privacy, but the current administration has done really nothing to investigate the Equifax data breach, which in my opinion is the mother of all data breaches. I mean, I just think so far, there appears to be a high tolerance for this kind of corporate incompetence under the current administration. So, for those two reasons, I just don’t see any kind of GDPR level regulation happening in the United States under the current administration.” – David Deal, independent marketing consultant

“There is the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018, which is about initiative that would give consumers the right to ask businesses what personal data is being collected, and I think a lot of this is because of the, maybe indifference on the part of the federal government, is being taken up on the state level, I think it’s kind of ironic that California is first, in some ways that’s predictable, but it is the home of a lot of the current large data breaches. But, I think it’s too simple to say that the United States federal government doesn’t care. The state initiatives could have a pretty big effect on the way brands behave, and I think most of the brands and marketers that we talk to tend to feel that it’s more economical to have one privacy policy that you apply everywhere, than just try to adjust it for each regional market, and each little change that happens. So, I think the GDPR is going to have a rather sweeping effect on US practice, if not the actual laws.” – Andrew Frank, Gartner

“Companies simply can’t maintain two sets of standards and processes, it’s too complex, takes too much work, and is too costly. And the question is, why would you operate to a high bar and a low bar? Surely with your customer base, which is a global community in many cases, you’d operate solely to a high bar, even if it’s just to save costs and reduce complexity. Brands that do this now are already being rewarded by the consumer with their money. You know? Amazon and Netflix are quite celebrated in that they use data to increase the consumption of their goods and services, but market forces are rewarding good behavior, if I take those two examples. I’m hoping, I think that trend will continue, and I think GDPR is the ideal catalyst to accelerate that trend.” – Peter Bell, Marketo

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